About therapy and Dr. Mara Applebaum

Working so hard to create our own perfection,
we forget that we are human beings.
Marion Woodman

AboutMaraMy approach to therapy draws from psychodynamic practice, family systems theory, object relations theory and even Buddhist philosophy. One part of my work is mindfulness — the practice of slowing down and allowing space for the aspects of self that call for tending. This is a very person-centered approach that caters to your specific experience and needs. Another important aspect of my work is understanding the conscious and unconscious relationship between myself and my patients. By addressing this consistently, a great deal of learning and growth are possible.

I have a master’s degree in applied behavioral science from Bastyr University/LIOS and a doctorate in mythology and depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. I am licensed by the state of Washington as a mental health counselor. Since 2002, my experiences as a psychotherapist, community-agency counselor and hospital clinician have connected me with people from diverse cultures, races, classes, religions and sexual orientations. I’ve spoken as a clinical expert for many organizations, including Shepherd’s Counseling Service, Swedish Hospital, Seattle University, La Leche League and Postpartum Support International of Washington. My affiliations include the Northwest Alliance for Psychoanalytic Study and the psychoanalytic division of the American Psychological Association. I receive ongoing training and consultation from senior analysts in the object relations psychoanalytic tradition. I am also a writer and worked as a journalist and editor before transitioning into psychology.

How the work unfolds

We can think of the first few sessions as a time for both of us to see if we are a fit. We will discuss your goals for treatment. Session frequency is one or more times a week, depending on your needs.

I work to understand your experience and to foster your self-awareness. Because my practice is person centered, I listen as closely as I can to you, reflect what I hear, and offer a trained perspective that can be helpful. One of the most important aspects of my job is to understand and reflect what is being said both explicitly and implicitly. The depth of this work often has significant effect. You will likely feel affirmed, angry, scared, excited, overwhelmed, sad, and relieved at various points in your process.

In my work, I have found that people suffer the most when they feel shame. Good therapy is not an effort to eradicate “bad” parts of yourself but instead to eventually feel more room for your strength and vulnerability, your certainty and confusion, your emotions and intellect. The more you are able to sit with any aspect of yourself, the more information you have to make choices that feel right for you. Because this approach is inclusive and paced to fit the needs of each individual, many people experience a greater sense of personal freedom, intimacy, and creativity over time.

I work with individual adults. Issues I often address with people include:

  • Depression and social anxiety
  • Perfectionism, overachievement, control, workaholism
  • Singlehood/couplehood/family dynamics
  • Mother/daughter issues
  • Life transitions (new job/job loss, move, engagement, divorce/breakup, etc.)
  • Personal identity, existential questions (“Who am I? Why am I here?”)

Contact Dr. Applebaum today to schedule an appointment.